6.3 Calling Quraysh to Allah
After being commanded to call his close kin to Allah, the Messenger was commanded to call the whole of Quraysh to Allah. They all knew him well, they all knew how truthful and sincere he was. So Mohamed used this knowledge they had of his character (he had lived among them for forty years) to convince them of the truth of his mission. He stood upon a prominence called AI-Safa (where Hagar had stood so many years earlier to search for water) and called them by the names of their clans. The clans heard and said, 'Mohamed upon AI-Safa, and they came to him from all directions.
When they had gathered, he began with these words,
"Tell me, if I were to inform you that there was a band of horsemen behind this mountain, would you believe me?"
"Certainly," they said.
"To us you are above suspicion. We have never heard you utter an untruth."
"I am a messenger of warning," he said,
"Coming to you before impending painful punishment! Banu Abdul-Muttalib, Banu Abdu Manaf, Banu Zuhrah, Banu Taym …"
he kept enumerating the clans of Quraysh, calling each by name, then he continued,
“Allah has commanded me to call my tribe to Him. I can do you no good in this world or give you a share in the eternal until you say that Allah is One.”
Abu Lahab, who was a fat man quick to anger, rose up in a temper and cried,
"May your hand perish forever! Have you called us for this!"
When the Arabs refer to a man's hand they are employing a figure of speech which denotes the whole by the part and by this he meant his life.
Mohamed did not answer as Abu Lahab was his uncle and the Arabs were brought up in the ancient tradition of respecting their elders, but then to all those who hurt him he was kind, patient, and forbearing. He knew they were hurting themselves more than they were hurting him. Soon afterwards some verses of the Koran were revealed to answer Abu Lahab, his insults as well as his misconceptions, for when Mohamed had pointed out that those who do wrong were destined for eternal torture, Abu Lahab had said that he would ransom himself and his children from such torture-he was a very wealthy man.
The holy verses say:
"May the hand of Abu Lahab perish, and perish he! What can his money and what he has made spare him? He shall enter fire of bumming flames and his wife, the carrier of the thorobush kindling upon her neck a rope of palm-fiber." (111:1-5)
Abu Lahab is one of the few people from Quraysh mentioned by name in the Holy Koran and is the prototype of the man who collects much wealth but does not do anyone any good with it. He was singularly narrow-minded and prejudiced. The last two verses mention Umm Jamil, his wife, who used to cast thorn bushes in the Messenger's way whenever she saw him.
When she heard the holy verses describe her as the carrier of thorn bush, Umm Jamil was furious and decided to throw stones at Mohamed the next time she saw him. She collected some stones and took them to the Kaaba where he often taught and prayed. Mohamed was sitting by Abu Bakr near the Kaaba. Umm Jamil walked to where they were sitting and spoke to Abu Bakr, saying that his friend (meaning the Messenger) had insulted her, and if she ever saw him, she was going to throw these stones at him, then she walked furiously away. Abu Bakr was much amazed and said,
"But, Messenger of Allah, didn't she see you?"
"No," said Muhammad,
"Allah has blinded her perception of my presence."